Details of WILLIAM STEVENSON

Born: c1690

Died: 1760

Source: Chaplains in the Jurisdiction of the Presidency of Fort St George from 1647 to 1805 (Rev Frank Perry, The Church In Madras 1904)

Biography: WILLIAM STEVENSON was appointed to Fort St. George in 1712 and arrived in 1713; he resigned the service and returned home in 1718. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and graduated there in the usual way. In September 1709 he was instituted to the Eectories of Morningthorpe and Tasburgh in the county of Norwich. In December of the same year the Archbishop of Canterbury interviewed him, and gave him a certificate of approval to the Directors of the East India Company. In the Archbishop's Act Book no degree nor university is mentioned. Soon after his arrival at Fort St. George he was called upon to preach a funeral sermon on the death of the eminent Factory surgeon and botanist Edward Bulkeley. This was published in London in 1715. l The following year he preached a sermon on the 5th November (Gunpowder Plot day) called the Folly and Wickedness of Persecution. This also was published in England. At the end of this sermon is an advertisement of a Sacred History methodically explained in the words of Scripture. The sermon is said to be by William Stevenson M.A. Chaplain to the East India Company; and the Sacred History by William Stevenson M.A. Rector of Morningthorpe in Norfolk. There can be no doubt that the authors were one and the same person. In 1717 the S.P.C.K. publishe the letter he wrote to them from Fort St. George concerning the Protestant Mission in those parts a remark able letter showing a quick insight into the difficulties of the undertaking, and a shrewd judgement as to the best means of accomplishing it. He went to India without resigning his Norfolk living; and resumed his duties there on his return. Before he resigned it in 1723 he translated Fenelon's Dialogues on Eloquence. The earliest edition of this work in the British Museum is dated 1750; but the title page states that it is by William Stevenson M.A., Kector of Morningthorpe. In 1723 he was invited by Bishop Hoadley of Hereford to accept the Kectory of Colwall in that Diocese. He was duly instituted, but no mention of his degree or university is found in the Institution Book. Shortly afterwards Bishop Hoadley was translated to Salisbury; and in 1726-7 he made Stevenson a Prebendary of Netherbury in Salisbury Cathedral. He died in 1760.